You Get a Car! You Get a Car!

By SkiMum Paula


Oprah had the world on its feet at the Golden Globes.  The excitement on the morning news shows the following day was infectious.  Even my teenage daughter was howling in a voice an octave lower than her own, “You get a car! You get a car!” while devouring her pancakes.  She was a newborn when the giveaway aired in 2004, but still understands the magic and joy it inspired.  “That must have made the car maker famous,” she continued.  I cocked my head and smiled.  Like other childhood beliefs, I didn’t have the heart to tell her that Pontiac (awesome trivia/HQ question, by the way) went bust just a few years later.  Sometimes, the delight is more important than the detail.

What does this have to do with SkiMums?  Well, some would claim that many Wednesday mornings with fellow Mums feel like an episode of Oprah’s eponymous show.  Smart, active women sharing the slopes with other fascinating (and often, very funny) women.  It’s unclear whether it’s a girl power vibe, an adrenaline rush or the feeling of playing hooky, but Mums describe feeling electrified, inspired or just themselves on Wednesdays. “Ski therapy”?  Perhaps.  More likely, Mums are giving themselves a moment to recharge in order to charge ahead.

SkiMums also get FREE stuff.  Sadly, not cars.  The Bird, in particular, does this not because Mums are cheap (although we do love a great deal); it recognizes how important and influential we are.  Mums buy a lot of season passes, lessons, camps, ski team equipment, condos, spa packages, dinners and more.  We post pictures on social media influencing more people all over the world to discover the fun in our backyard.  When some suggested several years ago that Snowbird was too advanced and not as appealing to women, it started providing SkiMums group lessons to make sure we felt confident on the front and back of Hidden Peak.  Mountain School still sends its best women instructors each January to get intermediate-to-advanced SkiMums skiers — and, for the first time, snowboarders — to tackle different aspects of this unique terrain.  The Bird has also invited some daring Mums (read: pretty fast skiers on pretty dark runs) to ski Fresh Tracks, going up the Tram with Ski Patrol at 7:30am to do laps before the public opening.  In the summer, SkiMums have had the best deals on Snowbird’s All-Women Mountain Bike Camp which, we like to believe, they created because of clamoring by the Mums (“Teach us how to ride The Wasatch Crest and Big Mountain Trail!”).

This is what I know is true: SkiMums started as and remains a community, not a club, made up of incredible Wasatch Women who share a passion for the outdoors and want to share that feeling with others.  We laugh and cheer and, often, discover something new.  Such delight will get you much farther than any car.


Don’t Spend a Bundle to Bundle Up


Get great gear without blowing the budget. Photo by SkiMum Richelle

There’s an unspoken rule in Utah that locals never pay retail. Actually, we pay retail on a lot of things, a little less on others, and rent a storage locker to hold it all. Everyone is a professional shopper here. It’s not that we forego buying gear at slopeside stores. We just know what to purchase where and when.

  • Rental “demo” skis and boots begin to go on sale in late-March (ski clothing a bit later giving you another reason to visit Utah in summer). Resorts and stores turn over their entire inventory every season or two. Make an offer if you really like your rentals, especially if it’s late-season. I bought a pair of Rossignol Soul 7 skis with bindings for under $200 one July.  Pro Shopping Tip: The shortest “men’s” skis (same ski, different design, i.e., Soul 7 = Savory 7) are often in mint condition making them a great deal for petite women.
  • Reserve rental gear in advance online at local stores, such as Christy Sports or Ski ‘n See. They almost always offer discounts for doing so and even have slopeside stores if you need adjustments or want to swap them out.
  • Consignment stores are plentiful, especially in Salt Lake City, and it is where all the locals buy their gear. I think 2nd Tracks Sports is my hubby’s favorite store; mine is still Tiffany’s, I’m afraid (which might explain why his is the discount shop). The Gear Room is another. Just Google for more. I know folks who buy consignment gear when visiting and consign it back before they leave.
  • Outlet stores, such as Columbia in Park City, are fantastic for quality ski clothing at an affordable price.
  • Buying ski gear in person from people who know it and know how you’ll use it is the best.  Test: If you don’t know what a DIN setting is, then you probably shouldn’t buy skis and bindings online.  However, online stores from Backcountry to Sierra Trading Post to Ebay to Amazon are fantastic places to shop if you know your size and what you want.  Pro Shopping Tip: has its warehouse retail store minutes from the airport allowing you to talk to the experts and pick up everything your heart desires for a great price on your way to the slopes.
  • In December, Costco in Salt Lake City is another great place to pick up gloves, ski pants, snow boots, hand warmers and other items for a fraction of the price in specialty stores. Last time I looked, kids ski pants were $16. Wal-Mart is another one to check.  This is not a secret around here though, and the gear flies off the shelves. Call first to check.
  • High-priced long underwear for kids is a waste of money, I’ve concluded. Buy them cheaper, long underwear-style pajamas instead. Even if they’re cotton, the kids are usually fine. They usually don’t ski hard enough to really sweat and get cold. They’re heading for the hot chocolate long before that. The dual use is a bonus. Pro Shopping Tip: Lululemon capri tights on sale, of course are my new dual-use favorite under ski pants. I like the compression, and the shorter length doesn’t interfere with my boots (no, don’t put long underwear or anything else other than your socks inside your boots) while keeping me toasty.

SkiMums constantly chat about where to find the deals while riding on the lifts. Big surprise!  Feel free to share your favorite haunts below.


Lift Tix for Less


Red Lens at Snowbird by SkiMum Margit

Lift ticket deals area available at Utah ski resorts if you know where to look. Locals ski dozens (some hundreds!) of days a year, and most snowboarders do it without having a job. Just joking, just joking! For the rest of us, here’s how—

  • For 5th and 6th graders, there is NO BETTER DEAL than the SkiUtah Passport, which gives 3 lifts tickets PER RESORT (42 days!) to 5th graders and 1 lift ticket per resort (14 days) to each 6th grader for just $45 (even less before January 31st). You must purchase this online in advance. Allow a couple weeks depending on time of year.
  • Buy a season pass. Before you scoff, check out the early bird deals at various resorts and SkiMum Richelle’s post about economies of scale. For example, the Family 4-Pack at Snowbird (2 Adults, 2 K-12 kids) purchased in early August 2016 was $1999 and came with great lodging deals, Wasatch Benefits, which included Mountain Collective (half-off at a list of resorts worldwide; I use it at Jackson Hole), 3 lift tickets for Alta AND 3 lift tickets for Deer Valley for all four people plus other goodies like rental, clothing and food discounts. If Alta is typically $96/day (adults and kids over 12) and Deer Valley is $128/day (adults), the math looks pretty good for a week long trip and makes it easy to come back for a quick weekend or two! Note that there are some blackout dates on the Wasatch Benefits lift tickets (but you’re not skiing during those pricey times anyway, right?). The Epic Pass is another unlimited, very budget friendly option that will put an adult on the slopes of Park City resort and all other Vail-owned resorts for just over $800. No, you don’t need to create a spreadsheet to figure all this out, but it’s a great way to get the hubby involved, I’ve learned.
  • If you have a friend skiing the same resort another time during the season, consider doubling up on transferrable pass or punch card. You can buy a transferable 10-to-Share Card at Snowbird (there are others available at other resorts), use a few days and leave it for another friend or relative to when she visits. At $589 (chairs only; $689 with tram), this worked out to $59/day. It’s even cheaper during early bird pricing. Just make sure it’s a transferrable pass.
  • There are no, none, nada discount lift ticket in Park City stores. So, find them elsewhere. Salt Lake City ski shops – even grocery stores – have discounts on lift tickets but not always for all resorts. Call ahead or look online to check on discounts for Park City and Deer Valley resorts, in particular. Locals Tip: REI is on the way to Park City from the SLC Airport, has discount lift tickets, ski rentals and great gear, and all the money you spend goes toward your co-op rebate. Cha-ching!
  • Some resorts, including Snowbird, have great advance purchase deals online, and if you’re visiting someone who has a season pass, they likely can get a Friends & Family discount at the lift ticket counter for you. Locals Tip: Deer Valley, which caps the sale of tickets, will offer advance purchase (but no discount) the day before. On a powder day, this is key.
  • Package lift ticket deals are around, including the Salt Lake Super Pass, that gives adults lift tickets for 7 out of 14 days for all four Cottonwood Canyon resorts (Alta, Snowbird, Brighton, Solitude) for $540 ($78/day). It also comes with a number of other lodging and rental discounts.
  • Liftopia has discount lift tickets for the resorts, but you have to choose your dates (guaranteeing that your kid will be sick or winds will close lifts on that day). Great deals, but choose carefully.

Any other deals? Feel free to share them in the comments section.

Top 5 Things to Splurge on at Snowbird

If I found some spare change in the bottom of the dryer, what would I do with it? Hmmm, that’s a tough one. Something ski-related, definitely.  Let’s put aside a shopping spree at Cliff Sports (I do love my Arc’teryx coat and fringed Astis mittens) or opening a great Bordeaux at Aerie. Here are five. Some I’ve done, some are on my Snowbird Bucket List—

  • A day on the Snowcat Skiing for Nature – hands down. At $395 for a half-day adventure, I still think it’s the best bang for the buck anywhere on the mountain. Starting with breakfast at The Forklift (included), Snowbird Ski Patrol prepares you for your side-country outing, straps you with a beacon and takes you up and over into Mineral Basin where you catch your ride. The rest is a blur and the most fun, best skiing ever. I’ve compared it to skiing in a snow globe – quiet, magical. A half-day is plenty. Your legs will be shot. Your memories will last forever.
  • Mountain School Women’s Camp with Mermer Blakeslee. Mountain School does several ski camps designed for women, but this is the one I’ve always wanted to attend (hint, hint). It’s a four-day camp led by professional skier and author, Mermer Blakeslee. She focuses on fear, the type that keeps us from accomplishing things on and off the mountain and fun, the type that brings us back. At $784 for four entire days, it’s cheaper than therapy and much more pleasurable. The time off from work, family, life is the big price but one I know would be worth it.
  • A day with a Backcountry Guide. I once tried buying all the gear necessary for my hubby to backcountry ski (shovel, probe, beacon, avalanche airbag, etc.) and scared myself so badly that I put it all back on the shelves. The avalanche dangers in the backcountry are real, but they are greatly reduced by going with someone who understands the terrain and risks. If you’ve ever skied a powder day, you get the bug and want more, especially if it comes with fresh tracks all the way down. That’s the appeal of backcountry. Prices vary but, for this exercise, I’m not concerned.
  • A weekend stay on the Spa Level of Cliff Lodge. For a modest upgrade, you can enjoy a spacious room and spa access on the top floor of the Cliff Lodge at Snowbird. If a day in Mineral Basin wasn’t enough, then adding a massage and then a dip in the roof top hot top will satisfy the pickiest guest. It’s one of the best views at any ski resort, and if the full moon is out, you won’t be the only one to howl. Prices vary depending on room and services.
  • Ok, I have to admit that my Preferred Parking Pass is definitely a splurge that I have come to love. Front row parking at the Bird means I can save my legs for the mountain and almost ski into my car at the end of the day. $249

Top 5 Tips for Luxury Ski Lodging on a Budget

Yes, you can enjoy a luxury ski vacation in Northern Utah without raiding the retirement fund. Lodging is often the biggest expense. With ski resorts all over the Wasatch Front and Back, you can typically find fantastic lodging that fits your budget.  Here’s how to do it —

  • Park City and Deer Valley, generally, command the highest rents. However, the price drops and availability rises in nearby Salt Lake City (Alta, Snowbird, Brighton, Solitude), Ogden (Snowbasin, Powder Mountain) and Provo (Sundance).  You can even sleep in Salt Lake and ski Park City (Foothill Blvd to Kimball Junction is typically a 16 min drive on I-80, enough time to enjoy your morning cup of coffee), or consider staying and skiing at other top-rated resort areas.  If you like the terrain at Park City, then check out Snowbird or Brighton. If you like the food at Deer Valley (and who doesn’t), then look at its sister, Solitude, or the scrumptious Snowbasin near Ogden.  All of these are less than an hour from SLC International Airport, have a distinct terrain and feel and are all popular with locals-who-know.  The best part of Utah skiing is that you can ski any and all of them regardless of where you’re staying.  It’s like being able to go to Disneyland AND California Adventure AND Newport Beach (with less traffic). So, think strategically as well as ecominically.
  • Expand your search beyond ski-in/out accommodations.  The convenience may not outweigh the cost, and traffic and parking are not really issues at Utah resorts. Hyatt Place and Residence Inn in Cottonwood Heights will get you to Snowbird, great restaurants or even a Utah Jazz game in less than 20 minutes. AirBnB and VRBO are great ways to find terrific homes and condos for a non-hotel price all over the region. Live like a local. You’ll spend less, have a terrific time and probably consider buying a place here. You wouldn’t be the first to visit for a week and leave with a second home as your souvenir.
  • Prices vary greatly depending on the date. High Season pricing includes: Christmas, MLK Weekend, Sundance Film Festival (some resorts) and President’s Day Weekend. Avoid these to spend less. Typically, there is more availability at lower prices the week before or after each. Unless the kids are in high school (when it’s just too complicated), just take them out! No one fails kindergarten, and you can use the savings for college. Locals Tip: Sundance Film Festival raises the rates but empties the slopes all over the Wasatch. Visitors are inside watching flicks. It’s when locals ski Deer Valley bringing to mind the Caddy Day scene from Caddyshack. OK, that might be a stretch. Bottom line: Stay in Salt Lake and ski Deer Valley or whoever has powder (locals bookmark the Wasatch Snow Forecast to see where to go) that week.
  • It’s time to blow some points! If you have a credit card, then check whether it has a points program. If so, you may be able to apply them toward a stay at a hotel near a ski resort. Between Park City and Salt Lake, most major hotel chains are represented and, many have luxury and budget options to choose from. For example, if you are eligible for Hilton points through its loyalty program or through a separate credit card, you might be able to apply those points toward a night at the 5-star Waldorf Astoria at Park City resort or to an entire stay at its more-affordable, Hampton Inn, just two miles away.
  • Marriott and others have vacation rental properties (timeshares) that aren’t being used and are offered just like hotel rooms to the public at terrific rates. For Marriott, simply search its hotel website with locations and dates, choose list view and look for the Marriott Vacation Club logo next to the property. Most of these are one and multi-bedroom condos. More room, less expensive, great location. Perfect!



Photo by SkiMum Margit

It’s Valentine’s Month!  Yes, SkiMums are going big on February.  Reserve the 14th for your sweetie, but spend the rest of the month showing your friends, family, mankind and especially YOURSELF that you care.  It should take 28 days — maybe 29 some years — to get it done.

If you’re a little behind, then start this Wednesday with some SkiMums Sun & Ski Therapy.  Wasatch Women have been spending the last six Wednesdays tearing up the slopes at Snowbird in some of the best ski conditions seen in years.  This Wednesday marks the halfway point with sunny skies in the forecast.  Grab your sunscreen and chocolate kisses and go.

This is our playground


It’s time to ski! Starting January 6th, Intermediate-Advanced women skiers will head to Snowbird on Wednesdays at 9:30am. For the first time this season, however, we’ll start with the super-popular FOUR FREE GROUP LESSONS by Susi and The Mountain School.  Then, in February, we’ll just meet and ski. No agenda. We ski until we have to leave. For some, that’s 10:30am, others it’s 3:30pm.  If the weather is crummy (winds 20+mph or sketchy viz), then we pass. It’s just not fun to ski in those conditions, and WE LIVE HERE.  There is no scheduled end date.  Last season, we just took off our ski boots and put on our hiking boots and played throughout the summer.

As mentioned, The Mountain School will start off the season with FOUR FREE* GROUP LESSONS for Skimums.  These have been very popular (sometimes, too popular).  The Mountain School doesn’t mind, but it wants to have enough instructors there.  So, we’re going to ask Mums to RSVP EACH WEEK through Evite.  (*Suggested gratuity of $10-20 per lesson)
IF YOU ARE A SNOWBOARDER, please leave a comment on your RSVP.  If there are enough BoardMums (we need a better name), we’ll ask very nicely whether The Mountain School can get an instructor.
IF YOU ARE A BEGINNER, The Mountain School REALLY wants you to get on the slopes and has terrific and affordable LEARNER’S PERMIT 
IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU WANT OR AREN’T SURE HOW TO START, contact Susi Muecke at The Mountain School, our incredible Instructor, Sherpa and Friend to see what you need to reach whatever goals you have.
Happy Holidays, Skimums!  See you on the slopes.

Mountain Tech – Ski Apps And More!

2015 Review

By Skimum Richelle

Remember the olden days when you had to stay up and watch the 10 o’clock news to see what the weather was going to be like tomorrow? These days I have an astonishing amount of information, all in the palm of my hand, and available anytime I need it. Following are a few of my favorite apps and websites that I regularly use to enhance my skiing, and beyond. Some of these are Utah, or even Snowbird, specific but my guess is you can find something that will help you wherever you live or ski.  In no particular order…

Trace Screen ShotTRACE SNOW (FREE – Android,  iOS)

Trace SnowTrace Snow (formerly known as Alpine Replay) allows you to track your day on the mountain by measuring speed, distance, vertical feet, calories, time and more.

I’ve tried several ski tracking apps over the years, but this one has remained my favorite.   One of it’s best features is that you can quickly open the app and hit the big orange GO triangle.  It takes two seconds!  Put your phone back in your pocket and then hit the pause/stop button when you are done skiing for the day.   You can also access all of your historical stats via their website and share (brag about) your day by sending your daily stats page  to friends.

I should also mention that Trace Snow also offers a small hockey puck shaped disc that you attach to your skis or snowboard. This little device augments your phone’s GPS and gives you some pretty detailed stats on tricks, spins, etc.  Since I’m not doing much park skiing these days (or ever), I don’t really have any need for the premium service.  The basic, free version provides plenty of info for my skiing style.

MyRadarMyRadar (FREE – Android, iOS)

MyRadarThis little icon holds a prominent spot on my phone’s home screen.  Wonder if that storm rolling across the Great Salt Lake is on track to hit Little Cottonwood Canyon?  Just pull this app up and watch the storm trajectory, size and speed.  Very simple to use!  Definitely a must have app!

Snowbird Mountain Report WebpageMountain Report

Snowbird-LogoI’ve been accused from time to time of being a bit obsessive, but this time of year, checking the Snowbird Mountain Report page is part of my daily (or, uh…hourly) routine .  It is a great page to give you some quick stats on weather and mountain conditions.  A peek at the mountain cameras tells me what visibility is like (and which goggles I need) and the Snowbird Snowcam snow leader board tells me which skis I should grab for that day (hopefully the FAT ones!).  Knowing which lifts are open, closed or pending can be extremely helpful on knowing where to park at the Bird.  I have this webpage bookmarked in my mobile browser (actually, it’s my homepage).

7-Day forecast

468px-NOAA_logo.svgWhen doing some longer term planning, I always check out the NOAA 7-Day forecast page.  I also have this page bookmarked in my mobile browser.

I should mention here that the NOAA just recently optimized their website for mobile devices.  Yay!  So much easier to read now!NOAA-7-Day

24-Hour forecast

468px-NOAA_logo.svgIf you want to get really geeked out on your storm tracking (like I have been known to do), you can go to NOAA’s 24-hour forecast.  It has detailed information on forecasted weather conditions at Snowbird and Alta ski resorts including temperatures, freezing levels, winds, snow water content (density).NOAA-24-Hr

What’s on your phone?

Did I miss a great app or website?  The app world changes fast and there are great new ones all the time.  Please post a comment and let me know what you use and why.


IADxHGrZUQx475Zwh0rBLfLZ2xjU_A18Glu4BqW5ccUBy Jessica Osterloh, Ski ‘N See PR


Ski ‘N See would like to invite you to use their demo skis (FOR FREE) from their Cottonwood Arcs location next Wednesday, February 25, 2015.  They’ve got everything from Powder to Carvers to All Mountain skis for you to try out. It will be a great day to shred on the new skis you have been envying this season. Please RSVP to by 5:00 PM Monday night.  Their supply is limited, so if you are interested make sure to RSVP now so you are not waitlisted! Can’t wait to see you all next Wednesday shredding on some new sticks, it will be a great time!